Main definitions of demon in English

: demon1demon2demon3

demon1

noun

  • 1An evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell.

    ‘he was possessed by an evil demon’
    ‘each of the damned souls was guarded by a group of hideous demons’
    • ‘As well as animal forms, demons can have other grotesque and hideous forms.’
    • ‘In Tartini's time, the Devil personified the spirit of evil, a demon, the ruler of Hell, and the chief adversary of God.’
    • ‘Tibetans treat the blind as outcasts because they believe they are possessed by demons or have committed evil in a prior life.’
    • ‘Possession by a bad spirit (a demon or witch) has been cited as the cause of some of the evil things people do.’
    • ‘In the first one I look like some evil demon has possessed me.’
    • ‘In a statement to the inquest, Mr Delstanche senior, said his son was not trying to harm himself but thought he could burn the spirits or demons out of his body.’
    • ‘From that there can be no doubt that the power of a demon is destructive - his purpose in dominating the personality is to destroy it.’
    • ‘The Japanese culture and arts have been strongly influenced by a wide-spread belief in ghosts, demons and supernatural spirits.’
    • ‘The demons and other beasts that escaped banishment hid in the dark places of the world, like the forests and great pits.’
    • ‘On Japanese art objects, Kintaro is usually shown fighting with a wild animal or a demon.’
    • ‘Frescoes of demons and spirits writhe across the walls of its prayer halls, and the drone of absorbed monks fills dim rooms and corridors.’
    • ‘Early Christian art painted demons and devils as black figures.’
    • ‘Shadows of beasts and demons flickered bigger-than-life on the walls.’
    • ‘Can a pharmacist refuse to fill a prescription because he or she believes the client is possessed by demons?’
    • ‘But there is simply no credible evidence to suggest the boy was possessed by demons or evil spirits.’
    • ‘At any rate, the talk show host was advising a father who thought his son was possessed by a demon.’
    • ‘‘People who lived on the streets due to the abuse of drugs, were not mentally deranged but possessed by demons,’ he said.’
    • ‘This type of dragon was considered by many to be the intermediate stage between a demon and the Devil and as such came into Christian belief.’
    • ‘Indeed, they would conclude that he was possessed by an evil demon.’
    • ‘It was a large wave of monsters, made up mainly of ogres and dog demons.’
    devil, fiend, evil spirit, fallen angel, cacodemon
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    1. 1.1 A cruel, evil, or unmanageable person.
      ‘I was a little demon, I can tell you’
      • ‘You are just hiding your true feelings; you hate us, you think we are evil wicked demons from hell here to rip you to shreds.’
      • ‘No, they are not animals, they are evil demons who hide under the cloak of kindness and normality while they hatch their plots.’
      • ‘Three, I'm a sadistic demon that delights in your emotional pain.’
      • ‘She had been manipulated by the demon, just as Koreko had been.’
      • ‘Why did he go from nearly human to cruel demon in a heartbeat?’
      • ‘After all, no child could resist the commanding and manipulating voice of a demon.’
      • ‘That, or there's some twisted sadist of a blind, jealous lunatic demon deceiving me.’
      monster, ogre, fiend, devil, villain, brute, savage, beast, barbarian, animal
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    2. 1.2 A powerful, often destructive compulsion or obsession.
      ‘he is plagued by demons which go back to his childhood’
      • ‘Martina Rosenoff types at her keyboard, successfully able to push the demons of fear and doubt from her mind.’
      • ‘A few years back, I interviewed an American college English professor who started drinking whiskey to control his psychological demons.’
      • ‘Gerald suffers in his relationship with Gudrun, his mixture of violence and weakness arousing a destructive demon in her.’
      • ‘I intend to say that he has every right not to be more forthcoming but some Freudian demon prompts me to say that he has every reason not to.’
      • ‘Plagued by demons of hate and angels of mercy, she had become his damsel in distress needing permanent rescuing.’
      • ‘Psychologically, demons may well be a projection of ourselves, the worst part of our nature or the most feared part of our own nature.’
      • ‘He realized with disgust that, as much as he hated the man he became during war, a large part of him thrived on the action just as much as that demon in his mind.’
      • ‘Which rising star in the art world claims to be possessed by demons?’
      • ‘It releases something, some little demon, just to say these things.’
      • ‘Airguns are not possessed of demons but, sadly, humans often are.’
      • ‘What kind of psychological demons must Lisa suffer from to ruin his life like this, he wondered.’
      • ‘Both men were driven by powerful inner demons, throughout their childhood and into adulthood.’
      • ‘By contrast, Milligan's mental demons burrowed much deeper, troubling him all his life.’
      • ‘But one deeply entrenched demon I would like to exorcise is my tendency to break into a cold sweat when dealing with things financial.’
      • ‘In every scene, we can sense monsters, demons, and compulsions lurking just beneath surface.’
      • ‘The painter's private demons take shape in the figures on the canvas.’
      • ‘They were caught up with their own private demons - which it seemed I was responsible for unleashing.’
      • ‘Maybe writing about it will exorcize this particular demon.’
      • ‘I cannot remember and do not know what evil demon possessed me and took me down to the record shop to buy this.’
      • ‘My private demons were as clear as the words on the printed page.’
    3. 1.3 Something very insidious and harmful.
      ‘the demons of injustice, bigotry, and exploitation’
      as modifier ‘the demon drink’
      • ‘A friend of mine has gone for an ascetic existence, having denounced the demon drink, and even resolved to stop swearing.’
      • ‘You might use reverse psychology and stress that a chaste distance from demon rum would be one of the advantages to seeing him fly off.’
      • ‘While one cannot be adamant in every case and say that these people are subject to demon activity, there is a very great likelihood that in fact this is their problem.’
      • ‘Partiality with the demon drink may well be associated with a certain flexibility.’
      • ‘The couple told the Evening Press today that the demon drink was to blame.’
      • ‘Why do all my exes look so good, why haven't they fallen apart, lost themselves to the demons of drink, ended up in rehab, ended up in therapy.’
      • ‘Barely three years ago, O'Sullivan was at rock-bottom and shut away in The Priory battling three demons - drugs, drink and depression.’
      • ‘I've heard alcoholic snowplow drivers make the same claim, that they drink to still the demons.’
      • ‘If you are far from a priest and one is struck by devil sickness or is possessed by demons then there are herbs which may help.’
      • ‘This is not the first attempt to exorcise the demon drink.’
      • ‘From what foul depths could have crawled a man who'd drive well above the speed limit, intoxicated by both alcohol and demon marijuana?’
      • ‘The modern form of temperance has a wider target, taking in drugs and tobacco as well as the demon drink.’
      • ‘Virtually everyone drinks the demon brew these days, even if it's cheap plonk bought in the supermarket at Mar'ton, much to the regret of Mean Mike at the post office.’
      • ‘It wasn't demons or spirits or anything out of this world that possessed them, but a fierce determination to win.’
      • ‘He walked with the aid of a stick and his physique spoke of too intimate a relationship with the demon drink.’
      • ‘Educational videos, movies… anything involving that demon picture tube, and those kids are gone.’
      • ‘The demon drink has done terrible things to communities and individuals.’
      • ‘Bingeing is not the best way to deal with the demon drink, anyway.’
      • ‘It was Graham who saved young George from the demon drink.’
      • ‘He stayed off the demon drink, which has caused him so many problems.’
    4. 1.4mass noun Reckless mischief; devilry.
      ‘his eyes are bursting with pure demon’
      • ‘So how odd that Howard should invest so much time and political capital in building a whole speech round this non-existent demon.’
  • 2often as modifier A forceful or skilful performer of a specified activity.

    ‘a friend of mine is a demon cook’
    • ‘Cotton might not be the demon fabric that performance apparel manufacturers say it is, but I'm going to keep my Under Armour shirt.’
    • ‘My wife, Bobbie, and I found the Vietnamese to be sweet people, demon entrepreneurs, not at all unfriendly to us.’
    • ‘Our first tests of the company's new speed demon show some impressive performance gains.’
    • ‘York trumpeter Greg Wadman heads for Scarborough Jazz on Tuesday, with demon guitarist Trevor Holroyd.’
    • ‘Even before the tourists jetted out from Blighty former Australian bowling demon Dennis Lillee delivered a withering a verdict on the England attack.’
    • ‘This is the second time in 12 months that Sondheim's demon barber has appeared in London.’
    • ‘Can this demon conductor possibly be pried away from his beloved Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg and tied permanently to New York?’
    • ‘For Ben the Bucket, the Dale's demon gardener, the summer has been both a triumph and a tragedy.’
    • ‘Remember those occasions when he would have made batting easy for his partners by taking on the demon bowlers all by himself.’
    • ‘You play as Jenn who thinks herself a normal girl who likes to have fun, but as the story progresses she learns that she posses demon abilities.’
    • ‘As a sideline he was a classical violinist, a master bridge player and a demon at gin rummy, but golf was where he got his kicks.’
    • ‘She's a triathelete and is a little speed demon.’
    genius, wizard, expert, master, adept, virtuoso, maestro, past master, marvel, prodigy
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  • 3

    another term for daemon (sense 1)
    • ‘The gods of the world are having trouble keeping the demons at bay, and so they come up with a last-ditch scheme - to resurrect a dead hero.’
    inspiring force, genius, numen
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Phrases

  • like a demon

    • In a very forceful, fierce, or skilful way.

      ‘he worked like a demon’
      • ‘I drove the length and breadth of the country at demon speed but I was still hankering after one more thing.’
      • ‘He trains like a demon and has taken transplant swimming to a new high.’
      • ‘Toby in front of me was rowing like a demon, his competitiveness harnessed and proving very effective and Wheelie kept bellowing and keeping us focused.’
      • ‘Professional golfers of his era were demon drinkers.’
      • ‘Booze was imbedded in the culture of the tour back then and guys played up to their reputations as demon drinkers.’
      • ‘After all, he scored the first goal, made the third and defended like a demon for the two periods of extra-time.’
      • ‘We had our excuses - Papa watched TV late and loud and snored like a demon and my reading lamp bothered Mother.’
      • ‘Finally felt better on Sunday night and now I'm up late writing emails like a demon after too long an absence.’
      • ‘Reilly has clearly researched and planned the story - and then written like a demon.’
      • ‘He negotiated like a demon and saved the club from an unimaginable fate.’

Origin

Middle English: from medieval Latin, from Latin daemon, from Greek daimōn ‘deity, genius’; in demon (sense 1) also from Latin daemonium ‘lesser or evil spirit’, from Greek daemonion, diminutive of daimōn.

Pronunciation

demon

/ˈdiːmən/

Main definitions of demon in English

: demon1demon2demon3

demon2

noun

Pronunciation

demon

/ˈdiːmən/

Main definitions of demon in English

: demon1demon2demon3

demon3

noun

NZ, Australian
informal
  • A police officer.

    • ‘I only wish I had one of them button-hole cameras you see advertised - the demons use them I believe.’
    • ‘Demons were flown up from the south to make enquiries.’

Origin

Late 19th century: perhaps from Van Diemen 's Land, an early name for Tasmania, or based on dee (slang term for detective) + man.

Pronunciation

demon

/ˈdiːmən/